Whether you find yourself on vacation without any exercise equipment or you’re working out at home, body-weight exercises can help you stay on track. Here are five of our favorites for getting your whole body moving.
A few instructions to keep in mind as you do these exercises: For best results, focus on range of motion and slow down the speed of your movements. In addition to strengthening the targeted muscles, these exercises will help get your heart rate up and increase core strength, which makes it possible to function better in daily life. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise, with minimal rest in between, and repeat the circuit two to three times.
Moving Squat to Balance
Begin with your feet directly under your hips and your core engaged to support your low back. Bend your knees as you move your hips back, keeping your torso as upright as possible; keep your weight on your heels to perform a narrow squat.
Stay in this narrow squat position and step out into a wide squat. Return to the narrow squat. Rise up to standing and focus on contracting your abdominal muscles as you bring your knee up to hip height; aim to keep the hips level. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Lunge With Rotation
Begin with your feet directly under your hips and your core engaged to support your low back. Step forward with your right leg and bend both knees to sink into a lunge. As you lower down, simultaneously hinge at the hips and reach the left hand to the instep of your front foot and the right arm up toward the sky for the rotation. Be sure to keep your weight in the heel of the front foot and your spine long during the lunge with rotation.
Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Once you feel confident with the exercise, aim to fluidly connect the lunge with the rotation.
Deadlift With Hip Flexion and Extension
Stand tall with your best posture and slowly sweep one leg forward while keeping the hips level. Pass through center and extend the same leg backward with the hips remaining level. With the back foot lifted or lightly touching the ground (like a kickstand), hinge forward at your hips to slowly lower your chest toward the floor. With the hips level and the spine long, the goal is to lower yourself as far as you can to feel the hamstrings of the standing leg contract. Return to an upright position, place the foot on the floor and repeat on the other side.
Double Push-up to Downward-facing Dog
Start in a plank position with either your knees or your toes on the floor. Scoop your belly away from the floor to set your core. Walk your hands out wide and bend your elbows to perform a wide push-up. At the top of the push-up, walk your hands back under your shoulders and perform a narrow push-up. At the top of the push-up, lift your tailbone to the sky and gently press your chest toward your thighs and move into downward-facing dog, gently pressing your heels toward the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Table Top with Lift and Reach
Begin seated with the knees bent, feet hip-distance apart and positioned close to the hips. Place your hands behind your hips; your fingertips should face your heels or be slightly turned out. As you press through the heels and begin to lift your hips toward the ceiling for the tabletop (with knees directly over the heels and shoulders directly over the hands), lift your right leg and simultaneously reach toward your foot with the opposite hand. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.